Tuesday, February 26, 2008

2008 NFL Draft Board

The NFL Scouting Combine is unquestionably one of the strangest places on earth. Invitees of the combine are brought from all across the country to be judged by hordes of onlookers trying to determine the right pick for their team. Basically, picture the human equivalent of the Westminster Dog Show and there you have it. NFL prospects are trotted out to the middle of the field to conduct drills that test their speed, strength, agility, glossiness of coat, ear shape and placement…. wait, got lost for a second there.

Anyway, with the combine under way it is time to ramp up the draft boards. Here are my predictions for the top 10 picks of the 2008 NFL Draft.

Miami Dolphins
For a franchise that has made about as many wise draft choices as Montell Jordan had hit singles, turning the tides in the ’08 draft is a must. And after a dismal 1-15 2007 season it is clear there are plenty of holes to fill, so who is the right pick for the 2008 Miami Dolphins? Trading the pick for more talent seems like an improbable option, so the rational choice would likely be BC Quarterback Matt Ryan (who, incidentally, is a dead ringer for Ben Folds). While this draft is full of talented lineman, the Phins would be wise to shore up their need at the game’s most important position. After all, they’ve been jumping from quarterback to quarterback since Dan Marino’s retirement, and even Nutrisystem can’t get Dan the Man back in playing shape.

St. Louis Rams
The 2007 Rams, who stayed neck and neck with Miami for much of the season in a battle for who can look more hapless, have plenty of holes to fill as well. It is likely they will use the number 2 pick on one of the many ultra-talented linemen in this year’s draft. While they do have needs up front on both sides of the ball, don’t be surprised if they go with Defensive End Chris Long out of Virginia. Long had the most impressive showing of any defensive lineman at the combine and is known as an extremely hard worker. So with hopes that super-massive, uber-man Orlando Pace can recover from last year’s injury to once again anchor their O-line, the Rams would likely be looking to address their D-line issues with this early pick.

Atlanta Falcons
By winning the coin toss that determined which team would have the third pick in the draft, the Atlanta Flacons proved that nobody can get crapped on forever. After a 2007 defined by a run of bad luck of Clark Griswold proportions, the Falcons are looking to capitalize on this pick and put the past behind them. If the Dolphins decide to pass over Ryan, expect the Birds to jump all over him. Arthur Blank is looking for a face to help Atlanta forget the Vick fiasco, and provided that Ryan’s family dog has no signs of strangulation he could very well be the guy. However, with Ryan gone you should expect the Falcons to pick up the combine’s “Best in Show,” Darren McFadden, running back out of Arkansas. While Atlanta has definite needs on the offensive and defensive line, they should use this pick to fill their backfield with a dynamic rookie who will attract attention. The kind of attention garnered from excited fans, not the federal government.

Oakland Raiders
With Al Davis running the show you never can truly tell which way the Raiders will choose. Expect them to jump all over McFadden if he is still available, as Davis has shown a tendency toward selecting superstar-caliber players despite needs in other areas. Then again, you couldn’t be shocked if he selected O.J. Mayo, superstar shooting guard out of USC, because he’s also shown a tendency towards senility. In all likelihood however, the Raiders will wind up with DT Glenn Dorsey out of LSU with the number four pick. Dorsey’s stock has fallen a bit amid worries of a past leg injury, but it is doubtful he would fall past the Raiders, who will be looking to fill the cavernous hole left in their defensive line by the departure of Warren Sapp’s mouth.

Kansas City Chiefs
Unless Kansas City is looking to take a gamble on a quarterback who is much lower on the draft board, it is probable Chiefs fans will have to endure another season of stellar quarterbacking from the craptastic platoon of Brodie Croyle and Damon Huard. As unexciting as it may be, the Chiefs will likely use their pick on a lineman as well. Michigan’s OT Jake Long would be a great fit in Kansas City. Their offensive line is aging and showed a declining ability to create holes for Larry Johnson last year. Long would be the perfect injection of youth, size and crazy the Chiefs could use. You’re telling me Larry Johnson wouldn’t have more running room with this guy in front of him?

New York Jets
After an impressive showing at the combine, expect Defensive End Vernon Gholston out of Ohio State to be snatched up here. With the impending departure of Jonathan Vilma the Jets will be looking to add a defensive playmaker in his place. They would be wise to add Gholston, who would give them a few solid years of production before they eventually conceded to trading him… to anyone but the Patriots.

New England Patriots
Despite losing their legitimate pick thanks to the Spygate scandal, having this pick from San Francisco to fall back on will ensure the Pats will continue to piss everyone off with the addition of undeserved extra talent. The Pats will be looking to add some youth to their geriatric defensive unit, where they would have liked to have a chance at Gholston’s college teammate James Laurinaitis. But with Laurinaitis remaining at Ohio State for his senior season, expect them to take the highest rated defensive player available who happened to be a Cinema Studies major.

Baltimore Ravens
With all of Baltimore collectively praying that Troy Smith can do well enough in camp to “steal” the starting job from “quarterback” Kyle Boller, the Ravens would love to take another young field general here. However, with the field of QB’s thinning out it is tough to tell who the right pick would be. Bet on the Ravens pinning up glossies of Brian Brohm, Chad Henne, and Joe Flacco on their draft board and choosing whichever one Ray Lewis hits with his throwin’ knife.

Cincinnati Bengals
Last year the Bengals fell from their status as one of the elite AFC teams, but they also managed to save their reputation a bit by collectively staying off the FBI’s most wanted list. For the sake of remaining on the right side of the law they may just want to draft the highest player coming out of Brigham-Young this year. However, the likely scenario will be Sedrick Ellis out of USC joining the Cinci D-line.

New Orleans Saints
The Saints have not exactly been known for their defense in years of late, so the smart move would be adding a cornerback or linebacker here. But I say screw the smart move. Just keep adding offensive weapons and do things the 2000 Rams way. Take Wide Receiver Malcolm Kelly out of Oklahoma to complement the aerial attack of Marques Colston and Reggie Kardashian.

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